The US Army rapid equipping force has selected the Lockheed Martin squad mission support system (SMSS) for deployment to Afghanistan.

The 11ft-long SMSS is the largest autonomous vehicle to be deployed with infantry, under the US Army’s Project Workhorse unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) competition.

The SMSS block I variant to be deployed can carry more than 0.5t of a squad equipment on rugged terrain, and features three control options; supervised autonomy, tele-operation or manually driven.

The SMSS sensor suite allows it to lock on and follow any person by recognising their digital 3D profile and can also navigate terrain autonomously following a trail of GPS waypoints.

The system will undergo further evaluation to demonstrate its ability to field a reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition mission equipment package in November this year.

The US Army has plans to begin the Afghanistan assessment later this year after a period of evaluations and training.